We know that Temu, the Chinese-owned e-commerce app that has aggressively advertised on Facebook, is popular. Its website had a 700% increase in traffic in 2023, making it one of the fastest-growing sites last year.
Bloomberg reports that the research firm Attain, which used credit card data from 6.5 million shoppers, found that both boomers and Gen X shopped more frequently and spent more than younger people.
According to Attain, Gen Z Temu shoppers placed 2.6 orders on average in 2023. Millennial shoppers purchased 3.3 orders on average, Gen X purchased 4.5, and baby boomers bought a whopping 5.6. That means among people who shopped at Temu, the average boomer placed twice as many orders as the average Gen Z shopper.
[It’s worth noting that this doesn’t say that the majority of Temu shoppers are older, just that the older shoppers came back more often and spent more overall. Attain didn’t provide data on Temu’s overall shopper demographics.]
I’m truly baffled by boomers’ high engagement with Temu. Attain’s CEO told Bloomberg, “Temu has a diverse product mix that appeals to more mature shoppers who appreciate the variety and the discounts.” I have some doubts.
Bloomberg cites a professor of consumer culture who suggests that one reason might be that older people are less sophisticated internet shoppers, and so they are dazzled by Temu’s roulette wheel of discounts when you open the app and other gamified discounting (when I opened it recently, it tried to convince me I had been selected for an extra discount on a product…. if I turned on notifications in my phone settings. Nice try.)
Could it be that boomers, who own big houses they won’t move out of, have the space to fill it up with cheapo tchotchkes like a 100-count of light-up rubber ducks? Perhaps, not overwhelmed with the need to buy 300 Stanley cups, boomers have more cash to spend on some cheap delights. I truly do not know! It could be any combination of these reasons.
If you are a boomer or Gen Xer who loves to shop on Temu, please tell me what it is you buy and what you love. I truly want to hear: send me an email at email@example.com.